17 August 2016
Cigarette packs sold around the country will display health and addiction warnings beginning September 1.
In a move to combat cigarette addiction, the Ministry of Health announced that all cigarettes in the market must display pictures and messages covering at least 75 per cent of the surface area of each pack.
“We will announce that this new requirement via TV, radio and [other] media will come into effect on September 1. There will be products already in the market without the pictures and messages. [Their manufacturers] will get a six-month period [to include the warnings]. If they do not include the warnings after six months, they will face legal action,” said Dr Thuzar Chit Tin, director of the Department of Public Health under the Ministry of Health.
Cigarette packs without the warnings, which will depict images of cancer patients, deformed fetuses and other diseases, will be treated as contraband under the new ministry regulation.
Vendors selling contraband cigarettes will face a fine of between Ks 10,000 and Ks 30,000, while repeat offenders will be fined between Ks 30,000 and Ks 100,000 and will be sentenced to a one-year jail term.
According to the Ministry of Health’s 2014 data, 26.1 per cent of Myanmar’s total population smokes cigarettes. About 43.8 per cent of Myanmar men smoke, while 8.4 per cent of women smoke.